Executive Coaching Articles

What Women Leaders in Every Business and Industry Need to Know to Survive

You know your value. You know you add to the company in ways that enrich it. However, women leaders in business and industry need to quantify their value and convey their worth to others so they can continue their upward path to success. Here are some facts to calculate your contributions.

  • A McKinsey & Company study showed companies with three or more women in senior management ranked higher in organizational excellence such as leadership, accountability, innovation and six other factors, than companies with no top women. Yet a study conducted by UC Davis in 2011 reveals that women occupy only 9.7% of the board seats and top executive positions in California companies.
  • The London Business School’s study of 1,000 international teams found work teams balanced equally with men and women had more innovation than those teams that had an unequal ratio.
  • When Chicago United studied Fortune 500 companies, those with boards including more women had a return on equity of 25% vs 9% for men only boards.
  • Another study showed Fortune 500 companies with the highest number of women on their boards saw increases of 66% return on investment, 53% return on equity, and 42% return on sales compared to those with the least number of women.

Articulate what you bring to the table

Whether we speak of abilities inherent in women leaders in business and industry, or values that cross gender boundaries, you need to know your worth to promote yourself.

Sylvia felt frustrated that she was not being promoted as fast as she expected. She wanted to be more visible and be perceived as both an innovative worker and a leader. She:

  • Listed her assets and qualification—asking co-workers for their input
  • Reviewed and organized the projects she thought best showcased her abilities
  • Hired an executive coach to help her bring these to the attention of her superiors

Three months later, Sylvia got the promotion she deserved.

Women in leadership need to create a personal development strategy. Take time to assess your qualifications. What got you into the job you have now? What skills do you need to be a more effective leader? What do you need to do to gain those skills?

How visible are you? Do people see what you are doing? Sometimes women sabotage themselves. They may kill themselves doing a project and then say, “Oh, it was nothing.” That makes it hard for people to perceive their worth.

Recognize differences can be strengths

For years women struggled to fit into a man’s world. They dressed in dark suits like men, toughened up like men, and sought emotional attitudes of men. But no more. Balance and success come from recognizing that while women may think and act differently, that brings diversity and strength to the workplace.

Harvard scientists discovered women use their brain differently than men. Women leaders who solve problems in business and industry, often think in a comprehensive way. They may think longer than men before offering solutions as they consider it from all directions—including emotional fallout, the effect on people and other alternatives, as well as the bottom line.

Ultimately, this is not a competition of who thinks better, or whether men or women business leaders are better.  Rather, recognize that when women executives bring their strengths and combine them with men’s thoughts and solutions, the results will be richer than any one gender alone.

When you take time to understand and value your qualities you can present yourself as a rising leader in your business or industry in such a compelling way your upward progress is assured.

If you feel you need assistance in understanding how to value your skills and attributes, an executive coach can lead you through the process. Email Joel to decide if coaching is right for you.